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It's illegal to dispose of commercial waste in a commercial bonfire, and you should consider energy efficiency and recycling waste. However, householders may have garden bonfires but you should consider recycling your waste.

Bonfires and the law

It's a common misconception that there are specific by-laws to prohibit bonfires, there are not. An outright ban would be difficult to enforce and very occasionally a bonfire is the best practical way to dispose of garden waste.

If used sensitively the occasional bonfire should not cause a major problem. However, where a neighbour is causing a problem by burning rubbish, the law can be used for your protection.

Organising a bonfire or fireworks display

If you are organising a bonfire display, make sure everyone involved knows what they are doing to avoid any accidents. Find out about your responsibilities to the public and the people working with you when organising a fireworks display. Please contact us for further information.

Garden bonfires (domestic)

Air pollution in Dudley is a significant issue, Garden Bonfires can make it worse. Garden bonfires and burning other rubbish can sometimes cause problems if not carried out with care.

Burning garden waste produces smoke and pollutants which can damage the environment and can be harmful to health. Burning rubber, plastic or painted materials not only creates unpleasant smells but also emits a cocktail of potentially poisonous chemicals into the air.

Rather than burning your garden waste consider composting or using the Garden Waste Collection service (green wheelie bins or bulk collection).

Commercial and industrial bonfires

It's illegal to dispose of trade waste by burning and any business doing so is potentially committing three separate offences. Trade waste is any waste that is generated by commercial and business premises.

If you own or operate a business you must ensure that are fulfilling your 'Duty of Care' that you are disposing of your waste in the correct manner - this is a legal requirement under S.34 of the Environmental Protection Act.

Under Sections 33 and 34 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990 all businesses have a duty of care to ensure that their waste is disposed of correctly and must be collected by registered waste carriers. The maximum fine for failing to comply with this duty of care is £5,000. It is also an offence to store or dispose of (including burning) trade waste without a waste management licence or in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. This type of offence is dealt with by the Environment Agency and if you suspect any business is burning or disposing of waste illegally please contact the Environment Agency's Incident Hotline on 0800 807060.

Action can also be taken by Dudley Council under Section 79 and 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 where smoke from bonfires is deemed to be a statutory nuisance. For commercial premises the punishment upon successful prosecution in a Magistrates Court for this type of offence is a fine not exceeding £20,000 and/or imprisonment.

In addition to the above offences it is also an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 to emit dark or black smoke from any industrial or trade premises. This is a separate offence from the waste disposal and nuisance laws described above and a person found guilty of an offence may be fined up to £20,000 and prosecution can be taken on a first offence.

How to make a complaint

If you wish to complain about smoke nuisance from a bonfire on commercial premises or report an incident of black smoke, please contact us:

Environmental Safety and Health, 3-5 St James's Road, Dudley, DY1 1HZ
Telephone 0300 555 2345    General Advice and Complaints Form

Disposing of waste without burning it

You don't need to burn your waste in order to dispose of it. We strongly encourage the disposal of organic waste through alternative methods which are less environmentally damaging and much safer.

Composting

Composting is the best means of disposal as it returns humus and nutrients to the soil. It's also a good way of saving money on buying commercial products as composting produces a nutrient rich soil conditioner. Kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings, soft garden waste such as grass cuttings and leaves, tea bags/leaves, cardboard and paper can all be composted using food waste digesters and home compost bins. Alternatively, you can bury the waste to produce compost.

Recycling

Fortnightly black box / kerbside recycling collections of paper, cans and glass are made from all properties with ground floor access. Looking for your black box collection day? For information relating to your normal refuse collection day please see the page Black Box Recycling.

Green Waste Collection

We provide a green waste service for the collection of garden waste from each household, please place your bin on the edge of your property, as close to the public highway as possible.

Large amounts of garden waste can also be taken to the Household waste recycling centre, or alternatively we operate a chargeable Special Collections service.

Household Waste Collection (Domestic Collection)

We provide all residents with a weekly rubbish collection for the disposal of general non-recyclable waste. We will collect your household waste on the same day each week including the spring and summer bank holidays. Any changes to scheduled collection days will be advised by local press or leaflets e.g. Christmas and New Year.

For information relating to your normal refuse collection day please Check your collection days

We undertake Special Collections (otherwise known as bulky uplifts) for large Items from domestic premises.

Fireworks and bonfire safety

Fireworks are the cause of around a thousand serious accidents every year and it should be remembered that they are dangerous explosives.

Fireworks and Bonfire Safety

Smoke nuisance and air quality

Bonfires produce smoke and pollutants which can damage the environment and can be harmful to health and have an impact on the air quality in Dudley. Please contact us for more information.

  • Food and Consumer Safety
    4 Ednam Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 1HL
    0300 555 2345

    Contact - Environmental Health

  • Monday to Friday, 8.45 am to 5.00 pm, Please note that the offices are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays